On the fly: Out with a bang
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado
BASALT – It’s been a lackluster fishing season for me, by and large. I didn’t get out much and didn’t do terribly well when I did, so when November rolled around, I had an even better excuse than the approach of winter to hang up the ol’ rod.
But a friend of mine has been raving about great days on the Fryingpan River above Basalt lately. I get texts and phone messages about rainbow trout practically impaling themselves left and right on her blue-wing olive imitations, or words to that effect.
I was dubious, but I drove up the Fryingpan late Saturday morning, a half-dozen selections from a fly shop in my pocket. I pulled over at essentially the first opportunity, mostly because I couldn’t bring myself to spend a lot of time driving up the river just in case the whole endeavor proved fruitless.
I quickly decided the BWO dry wasn’t going to be my ticket to trophy trout, but a Brooks’ sprout trailing behind a tiny caddis (which I tied on so I could at least see one of my flies) seemed to be getting some looks, and one small brown managed to get hooked in the tail with it.
Still, the action was pretty nonexistent. I finally tied on just the sprout alone, sight cast to what turned out to be a decent brown and quickly had it in the net.
Moving upstream in what is really a low-flowing river right now, I found myself able to reach pockets of water on the far bank that are typically out of the question. I pulled a really nice brown out of one of those newly accessible spots and then began casting into a long, deep pool, completely covered in shadow by mid-afternoon.
Browns kept hitting that Brooks’ sprout, sometimes so subtly I never saw the strike, but they patiently waited for me to figure out I had a fish on the line and then fought like crazy.
Unfortunately, my feet were freezing. I kept telling myself each fish would be the last, but then I’d catch another. I didn’t see a rainbow all day, but with the browns pirouetting out of the water and jumping in and out of my net like acrobats, I could afford to be as aloof about the rainbows as they typically are about me.
I probably caught a dozen fish out of that hole before I couldn’t take the cold anymore. I called it a day, and I may very well call it a season. Might as well end it on a high note.
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Many members of the community wrote to laud the former Skico executive and city councilman for his friendship, dedication to family and community-minded spirit over more than two decades in Aspen.